Deep Links – Mobile Acquisition Unlocked

tl;dr Deep links provide the ability for apps to better address discovery and engagement

I was lucky to share a panel with John Milinovich CEO of URX and Itamar Weisbrod CEO of Deeplinks.me at the grow.co’s Mobile Acquisition Unlocked conference yesterday. Here is a quick look at my view of the panel.

John had a great framework for describing the stages of deep linking.

  1. enablement – engineering your app to respond to the correct routes.
  2. publishing routes – allowing for an interconnected web of apps.
  3. use cases – utilizing deep links, first in existing marketing channels (email, push, re-engagement …)

Deep links (either one of Charles Hudson’s 3 ways deep linking could play out) are an enabling technology. I’m not overly concerned about the specific implementation. I hope that iOS 8 and Apple’s recent interactive notifications, app extensions and widgets herald a more open app to app interaction.

The use cases for deep linking are many and varied. Marketer 101: more targeted, specific messages with simpler transactions yield higher ROI campaigns. This is true in emails, push notifications, shared links, ads and beyond. Can you imagine if while searching for [deep linking] on Google you were taken to wikipedia.org and not directly to the content? Deep links are a step in the right direction.

Taking a product centric view to user acquisition, great UX, inherent viral channels, platform distribution, referral programs, and drip marketing often have a higher leverage effect on a user base than pure paid marketing. Deep links can improve nearly every aspect of an apps growth strategy.

My main takeaways from the overall MAU conf are 1) Facebook is still the best and largest scale mobile acquisition channel. While marketers are excited about Twitter, YouTube, native ads and a series of vendors, FB remains the de facto leader in both installs and re engagement. Which brings us to 2) 2014 is the year of re-engagement. Marketers repeatedly highlight vendors like TapCommerce, ActionX and Kahuna as new high ROI channels.

It is still clear mobile discovery and engagement are still fundamentally broken (as I’ve previously written about). Deep links provide the low level infrastructure to allow companies to begin to address discovery and engagement.